Platform Decommissioning | Petrobras | Petrobras
Decommissioning: a natural path for the oil and gas industry
Exploring new deposits, developing a field, installing a platform, and starting oil production. In a very simplified way, these are the basic steps of our exploration and production (E&P).
Petrobras' offshore trajectory is long and diverse
The kickoff was in 1968, in the Guaricema field (SE), when we started our offshore production. In the following decade, the Campos Basin was discovered. This is where we built our authentic laboratory of innovations on a real scale that projected us internationally. In the 1990s, we dedicated ourselves to the development of deep water fields in the Campos Basin – culminating in the pre-salt discovery in the 2000s, which changed our production level.
Over 50 years of offshore experience is no small feat. Today, we are approaching the need to close down operations in several systems where oil and gas production has become unfeasible.
What do we need to evaluate?
And this is a natural process in the oil and gas industry – not least because offshore equipment does not last forever. More than 4,000 platforms have been removed from the Gulf of Mexico (USA), for example, since 1970. And more than 170 platforms have already been decommissioned in the North Sea.
One of the great lessons of our trajectory was to raise the safety of our operations to a maximum value. This is why we are also preparing for this stage, relying on our technological capacity, on our partnerships, and on the experience of global players.
What do we do now?
We have been studying viable solutions for years to act safely and responsibly at the end of our operations. This means that after deciding to decommission a production system, we will plan and execute activities in compliance with current regulations, analyzing viable alternatives based on multidisciplinary criteria (environmental, technical, safety, social, and economic).
But not only that. We will also draw on extensive study and guidance materials on industry best practices. As decommissioning projects in Brazil are relatively recent and present particularities that can make them more complex and challenging than those already carried out in the rest of the world, we have to be careful.
We understand that the best practices and lessons learned from the world industry must be considered, but customized solutions must also be developed, guaranteeing safety and respect for the environment.
Comparative Evaluation of Decommissioning Alternatives for Subsea Systems
- It adds information of a different nature about some common basis, allowing a broad view of how various aspects and their relations influence the decision-making with regard to the allocation of subsea installations.
- It facilitates and supports decision making and choosing between alternatives.
- It facilitates finding a better balanced alternative considering the various aspects involved in the decision.
- It allows sensitivity analyzes and the assessment of how the results are impacted by technical-scientific uncertainties.
- It makes the decision-making process traceable and transparent, allowing the verification/analysis by the stakeholders involved.
- Delimit the scope and gather information about the structure that will be decommissioned, as well as the social and environmental scenario in which it operates.
- Previously analyze all alternatives and exclude those that are unfeasible under a certain criterion (technical, environmental, social, safety, or economic).
- Carry out supporting technical and social and environmental studies.
- Evaluate alternatives with the help of a multidisciplinary group of specialists, highlighting the assumptions adopted and the “calculation memory”, so that the entire evaluation is traceable.
- Finally, identify the most suitable alternative.
Green model for allocation of units
Since late 2022, the allocation of our floating platforms has followed a green disposal model that ensures the application of environmental and human rights rules throughout the entire supply chain. It also guarantees the proper disposal of decommissioning materials, in alignment with best industry practices and the principles set out in the UN International Bill of Human Rights. That shows our focus on sustainability and ensures sustainable disposals.
This green recycling policy for vessels provides for:
- The implementation of waste-reduction actions, prevention of impacts on biodiversity, in addition to the reuse of equipment and the promotion of the circular economy.
- Recycle in shipyards equipped with technological solutions, such as dry docks or waterproofed land with an effective drainage system, which guarantee the containment of contaminants resulting from dismantling activities, preventing their release into the environment.
- An inventory of materials drafted in advance, to ensure that the shipyard has an appropriate recycling plan.
- The safe recycling of the vessel fleet, protecting the environment and people working in the recycling yards.
- Compliance with the requirements of the European Union Ship Recycling Resolution No. 1257/2013, in the case of international shipyards. In the case of Brazilian shipyards, operating licenses and compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations on the environment, safety, and health of workers, including the management of subcontractors.
- Acting in compliance with the commitments to which we are signatories, including measures of corruption control and respect for internationally recognized human rights
Everything you need to know about decommissioning
Petrobras prioritizes solutions for the continuity and maximization of production whenever possible. This can happen through the extension of installed systems' production; the replacement of old systems with new systems in projects of area revitalization; technological partnerships; or the assignment of rights (sale) of areas that no longer fit into the company's strategic portfolio.
The decommissioning of a production system includes several activities, such as the proper cleaning of the systems, waste treatment and disposal in compliance with environmental legislation, plugging of wells, disconnection of subsea systems, and the disposal of the platform itself, according to the decommissioning plan previously approved by IBAMA, ANP and the Brazilian Navy.
The ANP Resolution No. 817/2020 specifically addresses the issue and it establishes the requirements for evaluating and planning decommissioning projects, and our operational activities comply with several existing regulatory instruments. For each project, detailed analyses are necessary to propose a solution for the three major groups of activities: platform allocation; safe plugging of wells; disposal of subsea systems.
The decommissioning of Marlim and Voador production systems is associated with the implementation of new units that will replace the platforms to be removed. The implementation of the new systems is scheduled for 2023. They will make it possible to increase the current production of these fields from around 40,000 barrels per day to 150,000 barrels per day. With this change, we estimate a reduction of up to 60% in carbon emissions associated with the production of these fields.
Which platforms have already been decommissioned?
Out of the floating platforms previously decommissioned, only P-12, P-27, P-34, P-15, P-7 and P-32 were owned by us and were sold in public auction following the applicable regulatory requirements. The Cação fixed platforms (PCA-1, PCA-2, and PCA-3) were removed from their location, off the coast of the state of Espírito Santo, and dismantled through an EPRD (Engineering, Preparation, Removal, and Disposal) contract, which ensures the forwarding of decommissioning materials for recycling and the correct final disposal of waste.
Discover some platforms that have already been decommissioned:
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